When is the “Right” Time for Breast Reconstruction?

Breast cancer treatment is a difficult time for many women, and deciding when to have breast reconstruction is not at the forefront of every patient’s mind. I try to give each patient I see for breast reconstruction in California personal advice to help determine the right time for her surgery.

Women have two options for breast reconstruction, and deciding which is best is based primarily on personal needs. Here’s information regarding both options to help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each:

  • Immediate Breast Reconstruction: Many women feel this method helps them transition from a mastectomy to their normal routines more easily. Surgeons are able to immediately re-create breast shape after a mastectomy, which cuts down on the overall recovery time when compared to undergoing separate procedures.
  • Reconstruction After Recovery: Some patients decide to wait until after recovering from the mastectomy to have breast reconstruction. This may be necessary due to the treatment needs of the patient, or it may be a personal decision she makes.

Women interested in breast reconstruction have two primary options to choose from:

  • Tissue Expansion is the most popular option among my patients. I use a tissue expander below the chest muscle to make room for a breast implant.
  • Flap Surgery uses a flap of muscle, skin and fat from some other area of the body to re-create the breast. I usually transplant the material from the back, abdomen or buttocks.

Patients interested in re-creating nipple and areola color will have to wait 2 months after surgery. If you are considering breast reconstruction and want advice concerning the right time for your operation, I highly recommend speaking with an experienced surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction.

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